HOAs are all fun and games until they're out to ruin your life. This Reddit user shares her miserable experience with her HOA.
Jane, a disabled woman, lived peacefully in her neighborhood until the HOA decided that they didn’t like that. How dare a disabled woman try to live in our neighborhood. This is the story of Jane and Karen, perhaps the worst HOA head to ever exist.
It all started at the end of one summer. Jane, who suffers from Ehlers Danlos Syndrome and fibromyalgia, had been using the community pool as a form of treatment for her conditions. No one had even minded her doing so as she only took a small portion of the pool. However, there was one woman who saw what Jane was doing and immediately voiced how Jane was "taking too much space" and "taking away from others enjoyment," it was clear she had some disdain for disabled people.
Nothing had happened after that so Jane thought nothing of it. Later in the year, Jane wanted to go back to the pool and try to get some additional hydrotherapy in. But Jane discovered that her pool fob was disabled, denying her access to the pool that she used as hydrotherapy for her disability. She contacted the HOA and was able to get her FOB working again. Yay, a happy ending. Jane was also able to discover who had disabled her fob, Karen, the current head of the HOA and the woman who initially complained to Jane. Jane thought that it was strange, but didn’t think too much about it since it had been resolved. However, this was the first encounter to mark the beginning of the terrible relationship between the two.
Since that incident, Karen had tried several other ways to get Jane and her husband in trouble with the HOA.
Karen tried to fine the couple for feeding an outdoor cat. However, Jane never did anything of the sort and was able to prove herself by showing security footage. Following that, Karen soon discovered that Jane loved cats, so she began threatening to kill neighborhood strays. Jane was horrified and considered calling the police.
One time, at an HOA meeting, Karen tried to convince the committee that Jane was suspicious because the couple received too many packages. Jane was annoyed; the reason why they received so many packages was because her husband collected records and bought and sold guitar parts, meaning things were constantly coming in and out. But rather than get mad, Jane decided to do something else to embarrass Karen.
Jane gleefully said, “OH! It’s my record collection, would you like to see it,” and forced Karen into a nice and long forty-minute conversation about her collection. However, this didn’t stop Karen from trying her antics again. She proceeded to then try to talk about some suspicious boxes Jane had received that were covered in blood splatter. What Karen didn’t know was that Jane was subscribed to a monthly crate that was horror themed.
Jane proceeded to respond the same way, aggressively talking about how she loved horror to Karen and even showed her some photos of her opening her boxes. Jane decided that being aggressively social was the best way to deal with Karen because she had no idea how to respond. Watching Karen act flustered amused Jane to no end.
There was also a time when Karen tried to fine Jane for littering after she dumped melted ice, aka water, onto her reserved parking spot during the middle of the summer.
Another time, Karen tried to pressure Jane and her husband to pay to get their house power washed because the gardeners had “gotten mulch all over the side of the house.” The couple politely declined and cleaned it off with a sponge (glaring at Karen the whole time). This really peeved Jane considering her neighbors were absolute slobs. They left empty fireball bottles and other debris all over their porch and yard but were never fined. Jane was beginning to think that Karen was simply harassing her because she was disabled.
Once winter rolled around, Karen tried to get Jane in trouble for never signing up to get their chimney cleaned. Luckily, Jane was used to Karen’s antics and had a copy of the form stating that they declined having their chimney cleaned. There was also an incident that occurred after some light snow that winter. After some light snow one night, Jane had left for work.
About a week later, Jane had received an email from Karen stating that they were being fined. The initial email was very vague of what exactly they were being fined for other than their snow and cars. Jane was incredibly confused as she had no idea what could have been the problem considering that there was barely any snow to shovel. After several emails back and forth with the HOA, she received an email with an image attached to showcase the problem.
Once she opened the photo, Jane died with laughter. The reason behind her fine? The imprint left behind from Jane’s car after the snow resembled a man's junk, as if it was her intention to make sure her car made such an outline. All Jane could think about, amid her laughter, was how ridiculous the whole thing was and immediately informed the HOA that there was no way she was paying the fine. The HOA continued to bother her for a little while after the incident, but after they realized that Jane was serious about not paying, and that there were no bylaws in the book about such an incident, the fines were dropped.
There was also an incident where Jane had a Jewish friend over (it was obvious that he was) to host a small shabbat at her house as an attempt to increase interfaith education efforts. Karen saw Jane’s friend and began to throw a tantrum. Cops were almost called, once again.
There were also several small occurrences that had begun to wear away at Jane. Karen had started just erratically yelling, 'This is MY America,' from her porch at Jane as she left for work. While Jane was not particularly political, she still did not enjoy being yelled at first thing in the morning. Karen had also trained her wiener dog to go after Jane. While the dog never bit her, Jane was sure that it would if it had the opportunity. Jane also noticed that she was getting a lot more missionaries at her door than usual. After talking to some of them, she discovered that Karen had been directing them towards her house even though Jane had never shared any interest in the local cult.
Jane was starting to wonder how a woman should have had the cops called on her so many times was able to become the president of the HOA. Jane was kind and had enough troubles already, what had she done to warrant Karen attacking her constantly? Also, how did Karen have so much time as to always be watching her?
The most memorable incident was the time Jane's car was TOWED WITHOUT WARNING. The reason for the towing? The couple’s parking tags were expired by one day. They were in the process of getting new tags, but they were one day late in the mail. So instead of warning Jane in writing (which the HOA contract requires them to do), they towed the car. Without warning. And did not leave a notice.
When this incident occurred, the couple had no idea that the car had been towed, so they woke up thinking that their car had just vanished. The couple proceeded to call the cops and insurance company. Jane even called her mother, sobbing, because she had no idea what to do in that situation. There were things in that car that they could not afford to lose now such as her husband's work documents and laptop, important student documents for Jane’s students, and a handicap pass.
Once an officer arrived to the scene, he noticed that there were several cameras around the area, so he advised Jane to call the HOA and get the footage from the previous night. That's exactly what Jane did. However, what happened next was shocking.
Karen had picked up and responded with, “OH!, We towed it last night, the tags were expired.” It was July 1st. The tags expired June 30th. Jane realized that Karen had literally waited for midnight to come around so that she could send in a tow truck. But Jane was prepared. She knew that the HOA was required to give at least five days notice before they could tow, which Karen had not done. So Karen had to pay, out of pocket, to have the car removed from impound.
This same day, the new tags had come in, so the car could not be towed again. The whole incident had left Jane livid. Unfortunately, she could not do anything legally because technically the car did have an expired tag which was grounds for towing. Especially since Karen had shown "good faith" by paying for the car to be taken out of impound. Jane thought to herself, "How could this woman be considered good when she literally took time out of her day to make sure she could ruin mine."
This wasn’t a lone incident as Karen tried to do the same thing to Jane’s friend’s car is the short three-hour span she was visiting. Thankfully, Jane and her friend made it back in time to tell the towing company that they couldn’t tow her car since the contract doesn’t cover non-residents.
After dealing with all of Karen’s harassment, Jane and her husband decided they were done with Karen's nonsense. They were going to sell the house and move out. Jane had already been planning on selling the home since her family had grown out of it. The house was getting run down and needed love from someone who actually knew how to repair it. In addition, the house caused problems with Jane’s disabilities as the house had two floors and Jane had trouble moving around.
Jane was incredibly excited to finally get out and away from Karen. She even considered getting a restraining order against Karen since she kept trying to interrupt Jane’s life. However, her excitement gradually faded when she was newly diagnosed with Mast Cell Activation Syndrome and found herself no longer in a situation where she could move comfortably.
Her new diagnosis meant that she would have all the normal allergens like mold, dust, and pollen just really badly. But in addition, she could develop new allergies at any time which could have the potential to be deadly. Thus, she decided that moving to a new town which could have plenty of possible allergens was simply not doable. Her new diagnosis also made her unable to continue teaching as she was now too disabled.
But luckily for Jane, sweet karma would soon be delivered to her neighborhood enemy, Karen.
One evening, Jane and her husband were carrying in groceries when Karen, who was constantly monitoring them, came marching over. She came in screaming about how Jane was a fraud, that someone who was disabled wouldn’t be able to carry grocery bags (which were incredibly light) 20 feet from the car to the house. She then snatched the placard right from the rear view mirror. Jane snapped, Karen was essentially stealing her handicap placard right in front of her. Jane immediately called the cops.
Once they arrived, Karen started mouthing off to them about how Jane was "pretending to be disabled" and that "she should be the one getting arrested". However, the cops did not believe Karen for one second and immediately whisked her away to jail for the night. Jane could only imagine how Karen responded to being held in jail for a night, hopefully she spent the whole night screaming and crying miserably. If that wasn't satisfying in and of itself, Karen was then immediately kicked out of her HOA position as president since she now had a criminal record. Jane could only think, “I’m so excited!! Even though the HOA won’t be great, it’ll still be 100000 times better with Karen gone.” She could finally live her life without worrying about Karen trying to ruin it.